spring issue | volume 7
They chose the name Gypsy Circus for their love of travel and the promise of fun. They are delivering on the fun with The OutCider Venue and InCider Taproom. In the warmer months, The OutCider Venue offers the OutCider Main Stage (built on a container), a gypsy rock garden, a hammock station, community grills, a charging station, gypsy Plinko, fortune teller photos and the Wall of Graffiti. The Container Stage hosts musical acts, fire shows, and other performing artists throughout the summer. The InCider Taproom has 20 taps of ciders, meads, cysers, and local beers on tap, and offers a distinct bohemian vibe.
The InCider stage hosts local and emerging musical acts in addition to the Amusing Amusements room for folks to hang out and play their favorite classic video games. The taproom also offers cider-based cocktails for those looking for a twist. Gypsy Circus is as serious about the cider as they are about the fun. The cidery is a certified Pick Tennessee producer using only local, organic apples pressed on-site at nearby orchards. The juice arrives at the cidery and begins the fermentation process the same day it’s pressed. It takes about three months to go from fruit to finished product. That production time includes two months of aging, because cider, like wine, improves with age. For consumers used to hard cider from large commercial ventures, craft cider will taste more like champaign than apple juice. The aging process develops the aroma in a craft cider, not the additives that give many mass-market ciders that sweet, apple bouquet. Craft cider is also dryer than many American mass-market ciders. In it’s Core line, Gypsy Circus offers Raindancer, a dry cider, and Queen of Swords, a vintage, or semi-sweet, cider. In addition to the Core line, the Elixir series offers seasonal and experimental tastes. On the day of my visit, I tasted Unicycle, a single-hopped dry cider, and Vaudeville, a sour cherry cider, both excellent complements to the Core line. A speciality, one-time cider is available every 3 to 4 weeks. The one-off ciders are an opportunity to experiment and continually add seasonal, local ingredients to Gypsy Circus’s offerings in collaboration with local farms and other craft producers. Past partnerships have included Whirling Dervish Coffee Cider with Frothy Monkey Coffee and Thai Basil Cider made with fresh herbs from Bloomsbury Farms in Smyrna. Completing a trio of product lines, the Puppet Master series offers ciders aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels. The Pup-
petMaster: Marionette released in early 2017 was aged in Jack Daniels bourbon barrels for fifty weeks. PuppetMaster: Shadow Puppet will release in the spring 2017 with a wild cider aged with peaches in Jack Daniels barrels for 14 months. Puppet Master releases bring together Tennessee whiskey and Tennessee cider in one great product and are available in limited-supply, cork and cage bombers. In many ways, making cider is more like making wine than brewing beer. The fermentation processes are similar and the end results are more similar than cider is to beer. Under federal law, cideries are classed as wineries, though Tennessee state law classifies cideries as breweries. In addition to the challenges of navigating the layers of laws and regulations, cider makers have to master the art and science needed to create a superior product for market. Aaron Carson has attended cider academies in the UK and at Cornell University in the U.S. Well-known in the craft brew community, Carson is the co-author, with Tony Casey, of East Tennessee Beer: a fermented history. Making cider was a way to become a craft beverage producer without competing with friends and colleagues making beer.
The launching of Tennessee's First Craft Cidery